Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

Pyramidal cells and cytochrome P450 epoxygenase products in the neurovascular coupling response to basal forebrain cholinergic input.

PMID 22293985


Activation of the basal forebrain (BF), the primary source of acetylcholine (ACh) in the cortex, broadly increases cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF), a response downstream to ACh release. Although endothelial nitric oxide and cholinoceptive GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) interneurons have been implicated, little is known about the role of pyramidal cells in this response and their possible interaction with astrocytes. Using c-Fos immunohistochemistry as a marker of neuronal activation and laser-Doppler flowmetry, we measured changes in CBF evoked by BF stimulation following pharmacological blockade of c-Fos-identified excitatory pathways, astroglial metabolism, or vasoactive mediators. Pyramidal cells including those that express cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) displayed c-Fos upregulation. Glutamate acting via NMDA, AMPA, and mGlu receptors was involved in the evoked CBF response, NMDA receptors having the highest contribution (~33%). In contrast, nonselective and selective COX-2 inhibition did not affect the evoked CBF response (+0.4% to 6.9%, ns). The metabolic gliotoxins fluorocitrate and fluoroacetate, the cytochrome P450 epoxygenase inhibitor MS-PPOH and the selective epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) antagonist 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5(Z)-enoic acid (14,15-EEZE) all blocked the evoked CBF response by ~50%. Together, the data demonstrate that the hyperemic response to BF stimulation is largely mediated by glutamate released from activated pyramidal cells and by vasoactive EETs, likely originating from activated astrocytes.